When it comes to your contraception options, nothing is more important than being educated—and that was one of the biggest takeaways from our recent STYLECASTER Live event celebrating World Contraception Day. We were joined by actress and activist Lucy Hale, Dr. Yesmean Wahdan from Bayer Women’s Healthcare, Paulina Ospina from non-profit Direct Relief, famed sexologist Dr. Logan Levkoff and our very own editor-in-chief, Justine Goodman.
Our live sessions kicked off with a deep dive into the topic of reproductive health and what it means to have access to contraception. “Contraception is more than just the method that’s chosen,” said Dr. Wahdan. “It’s about education and helping women understand what’s available to them and allowing them to make powerful decisions that will impact the trajectory of their lives.”
Although we’re living in a time when the demand for contraceptive solutions is high, the access women have to information about all their available choices continues to be limited. Direct Relief is fighting to change that, and in our Educated & Empowered panel, Paulina Ospina spoke about two initiatives the non-profit is working on in partnership with Bayer Women’s Healthcare to help women learn more about their contraception options.
Not only is Bayer pledging to donate IUDs to the 1,400 clinics that Direct Relief works with to provide healthcare access to underserved and often uninsured populations, but Bayer and Direct Relief are also awarding four clinics $40,000 apiece to develop programs that provide or expand access to reproductive health services, and contraception specifically. “Through the Bayer partnership we are able to funnel some of those most needed resources into the hands of providers for those patients,” said Ospina.
After learning about the critical efforts undertaken by Bayer and Direct Relief, it was time to get into some of the nitty-gritty questions about IUDs. STYLECASTER’s Justine Goodman led a discussion with Lucy Hale and Dr. Wahdan, both of whom have the Kyleena IUD. “It couldn’t have been an easier process for me,” said Hale of her experience. “I’m really happy I made the decision.” Hale has always been open about conversations around contraception and reproductive health, which she attributes in part to her mom, a labor and delivery nurse who encouraged her to have open conversations around her body and reproductive health.
“It’s been so empowering for me sharing my IUD journey and talking about the importance of access to information and contraception,” Hale said. “I want to normalize these conversations. When you know all your options you can make the best choice for yourself.” In short, knowledge is power—and the starting point in making informed decisions when it comes to your reproductive health journey.
In a series of rapid-fire questions, Dr. Wahdan gave our audience all the information they ever wanted to know—but might have been afraid to ask—about IUDs. She also brought along an actual IUD (it is TINY!), and walked us through the insertion process (surprisingly simple). She talked about whether or not you can feel the IUD throughout the day (not typically), whether you can you use tampons if you have an IUD (yes), and the million-dollar question on everyone’s minds: Does an IUD interfere with sex? (Nope, it shouldn’t.) Of course, everyone’s experience is different, so if you do have an IUD and experience pain, bleeding or any unusual discomfort, definitely see your doctor.
We closed out our celebration of World Contraception Day with Wine & Gyn, in which Justine Goodman was joined by SHE Media’s Vice President of Video, Reshma Gopaldas, and sexologist Dr. Logan Levkoff (who you might recognize from Married At First Sight). Glasses of wine in hand, the three engaged in a candid conversation that touched on their personal experiences with contraception, and how their views on reproductive health have evolved over time.
We learned so much from these incredible women, and stand in awe of the work they are doing to destigmatize these topics and make essential information about our contraceptive choices more accessible.